Alessio bows out with big win

Juventus assistant coach Angelo Alessio was happy to hand the reins back to the returning Antonio Conte having sealed progression to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Last Updated: 06/12/12 at 11:16 Post Comment

Antonio Conte: Taking back the reins at Juventus

Antonio Conte: Taking back the reins at Juventus

A 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk, courtesy of Oleksandr Kucher's own-goal in the 56th minute, also saw the Bianconeri top Group E and avoid a clutch of tricky opponents in the next round.

Juve head coach Conte returns from a four-month suspension for his involvement in a match-fixing scandal to take control of Juve at Palermo this weekend.

And Alessio was delighted to cede control to Conte with the team in such rude health, telling juventus.com: "We knew we were in for a tough game and coming out on top fills us with pride.

"It was no simple task today but once we managed to put the reins on their forwards they found it hard to play their usual game and support the front men.

"We're delighted to go through and to have qualified as group winners. Credit must go to these lads because even without Antonio they've done everything that's been asked of them.

"As time has passed we've become more and more confident in our own means. We showed that first against Chelsea then again this evening."

Despite defeat in the Donbass Arena, Shakhtar claimed second place in the group and progression to the knockout stages at the expense of reigning champions Chelsea.

It had been suggested that Juve and Shakhtar would play for a convenient draw to make it mathematically impossible for the Blues to progress, a tactic Bianconeri director Beppe Marotta flatly rejected employing.

He said: "We knew we were up against a top team and that we only needed a point, but we didn't play for a draw. Our aim was to win and win we did.

"We've come through a tough group, winning the last two games against European champions Chelsea and the revelation of the tournament, Shakhtar.

"Our self-esteem has increased with each game and we've shown that we can compete with anyone."

Diminutive forward Sebastian Giovinco played a significant role in the only goal of the game, nipping onto Stephan Lichtsteiner's cross to get a touch on the ball before Kucher turned it into his own net.

"I touched the ball, I don't know how much that influenced things but if I hadn't made that run the defender probably would have been able to clear it," Giovinco said.

"In any case, the main thing was that we managed to score and go through."

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e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

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arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

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e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

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